France’s pre-olympics friendlies

Second win last night against Russia 3-0 after the initial 6-0 win against Romania. We saw 45 quality minutes before tiredness start creeping in and heavy legs coupled with many substitutions disrupted a bit the team’s rhythm and we ended up with no goals in the second half.
Here are the amount of playing time given to players so far in those 2 friendlies :

 

1. Deville 45+0 = 45
2. Renard 75+90 = 165
3. Boulleau 29+45
4. Georges 45+76=121
5. Meilleroux 45+45 =90
6. Soubeyrand 0
7. Franco 64+63 = 127 1 goal
8. Bompastor 61+45 = 106

9. Le Sommer 45+63 = 108 1 goal

10. Abily 45+90 = 135
11. Delie 45+90 = 135 2 goals
12. Thomis 90+45 = 135 2 goals
13. Catala 26+45 = 71 1 goal
14. Necib 90+ 45 =135 1 goal
15. Bussaglia 90+45 =135
16. Viguier 15+27= 42
17. Thiney 90+45 =135 1 goal
18. Bouhaddi 45+90 = 135
——————-
19. Phillipe 0
20. Soyer 45+0=45
21.Makanza 0+ 27 = 27
22. Gadea 0 +14 = 14
——————–
23. Benameur 0
24. Plaza 0
The final friendly against Japan will give a good indication on the team’s level especially on the defensive side of the game. Japan will get a lot of ball possession and we will have to work hard to get it back. Then the preparation will finish and the girls will be soon on their way to Glasgow.

A quick Team GB squad analysis

As a women’s football fan who attends as many games as I can, I can only feel sorry for all those girls who worked very hard towards getting a place in the Olympics. Many of them played really well and actually outperformed some of the players selected. You do wonder if those not there are members of the rumoured “face don’t fit” club. In term of players who fully deserve to be there and no questions to be asked : Alex and Jill Scott, Dieke, Asante, Rafferty, Carney, Yankey, Little, Ellen White.

Let’s start with the main example/controversy in the defensive midfield position :
Jessica Fishlock has been in superb form for more than a year for club and country. She is probably the best WSL player this season. Jo Potter with her superb vision and sublime skill has also been fantastic for Birmingham in the last 2 seasons. So who has been selected ahead of those 2. A player who had a poor World Cup and has had a poor 2011 season and a slightly better one in 2012?
Where is the logic here ??

Then you have the unusual selection of 3 center forwards with exactly the same tactical profile :  All are fast players who like to run into space and defenders. One of them is not a goalscorer though, as her record is awful as seen in world cups. You also do wonder why at least one of the sub does not have the profile of players like Dowie and Beattie in order to have a plan B in case plan A doesn’t work as seen at the Cyprus Cup v France. Helen Lander being overlooked besides being the in form striker is also worth questioning because she has exactly the same profile as the 3 strikers.

There are questions marks about goalkeepers with Bardsley not playing many games in Sweden and Brown records in term of kicking and handling speaks for itself. To have Telford and Chamberlain instead of those two would have been logical due to form and class.

Other question that need to be asked is why 4 center backs. You can argue that Stoney deserve to be there for her experience and Asante/Dieke as well because they are class player. Then Bradley could be compared to Davies who is as good as her IMO or to Flaherty who ahs been  a cornerstone of the Arsenal defence for the last 3 years and has won every title available has much more champions league experience and doesn’t even get a look in, why ?

Another case is Kelly Smith. Quality is not doubt, just fitness really. At the time of squad announcement she had played 15 minutes of club football. Her 30 minutes cameo with 2 goals against Chelsea proved, she can do a job as a supersub but to be a starter would be surprising. Jordan Nobbs who has been superb for her club since her arrival could have been an alternative to Kelly Smith.

You also have 2 wingers in excellent form who arguably should have been there as a back up for Carney and Yankey. Dunia Susi who is flying this season with many goals and assists and Gemma Davison who has won every club trophy in England plus the european one added the WPS title to her collection but doesn’t even get near the squad?

Stephanie Houghton is a superb player who can play anywhere in the back 4 and therefore is an excellent cover for any of those players, she can play also in midfield although her recent club performance there suggest she is a much better player at the back. Strangely enough her main competiton for this multi tasking place was her club team-mate Jenny Beattie , who  has the same profile and can cover all 11 positions on the field as she has actually done this season for club, country and university side.

A quick look at the 4 reserves player : Emma Higgins preferred to Carly Telford and Siobhan Chamberlain and rated a better goalkeeper as per Hope Powell word of “no political selection”.

Jess Clarke and Dunia Susi two wingers one of them deserving to be in the 18 while the other one is not the most consistent performer ranging from sublime to average.

Jane Ross a  forward who was superb performer with Scotland recently.

Overall no defender or midfield at all in the 4 reserves except if you count Susi as a defender which is not her primary position.

 

So is it a squad that can bring back a medal, yes definitely can it be gold or silver maybe not but Bronze is surely a target.  it is just a shame that form players and class players have been discarded for no explaind reasons and make way for the usual coach’s favorite really.  It is also a shame that there are no explanation given to public/fans  on why players are left out but that kind of opacity is the usual modus operandi for the England women side. So good luck to team England +2 and hopefully they won’t let their fans down.

Arsenal LFC 2011/12 statistics

The season 2011/12 has now just finished. it started 0n the 24th of July 2011  and finished on the 5th of July 2012.  Those are the stats related to the number of games played this season.  Arsenal Ladies played 32 games.

 

Gilly Flaherty 32 games

Stephanie Houghton 28+4 games

Kim Little 31 games

Katie Chapman 30+1 games

Ciara Grant 29+2 games

Rachel Yankey 27+3 games

Niamh Fahey 28+1 games

Jordan Nobbs 22+6 games

Emma Byrne 26 games

Danielle Carter 19+7 games

Ellen White 17+9 games

Jennifer Beattie 3+19 games

Jayne Ludlow 18+4 games

Alex Scott 15+2 games

Gemma Davison 8+7 games

Julie Fleeting 4+3 games

Faye White 4+2 games

Rebecca Spencer 4 games

Yvonne Tracy 3+1 games

Bianca Bragg 0+3 games

Sophie Harris 2 games

Kelly Smith 0+2 games

Hayley Ladd 0+1 games

Angharad James 0+1 games

Melissa Lawley 0+1 games

 

Players in italics on maternity leave

Players in bold not currently playing with Arsenal

 

 

 

FA WSL Day 9

Chelsea 2 Arsenal 4

Lincoln 3 Liverpool 3

Arsenal has a crucial win away at Chelsea and therefore opens a 8 points lead at halfway point. Liverpool gains a valuable point at Lincoln in a 3-3 thriller that saw Stoney sent off for 2 bookable offences and a last minute penalty equaliser for Liverpool.

Here is  the virtual table as in the maximum points that the teams can reach at the end of the season :

1. Arsenal 40 pts

2. Birmingham, Bristol and Everton 32 pts( Arsenal just needs 14 pts to win the League in 7 games )

5. Doncaster 30 pts

6. Lincoln 27 pts

7.Chelsea 26 pts

8. Liverpool 23 pts

Everybody will be back after the Olympics with the first game back on the 15th of August  6 days after the finals in Wembley and Coventry.

FA WSL : The race for 2nd place is on

Well the FA WSL has reached the halfway point on Thursday with all the teams having played 7 out 14 games except Chelsea (9) and Doncaster (5). Liverpool and Doncaster will be likely to be  the bottom 2 sides for the second year running, even if  both side have improved from last season.

The outcome from Arsenal’s win at Chelsea is a huge 8 points lead ahead of the chasing pack and Arsenal will probably retain the WSL except for a collapse in the 2nd half of the season. That lead allows for 2 defeats ( Everton and Birmingham for example)  and Arsenal still would still be in front.

So the main excitement will come from the race for the 2nd Champions league place with four teams on 11 points and one on 8, this race should go to the wire.

I would say that Lincoln with 8 points and Chelsea with 11 points but with 9 games played are less likely to make the  2nd place with Birmingham, Bristol and Everton slightly favorite. The 2nd place  could also be decided on goal difference with currently  Birmingham on +5, Bristol +2, Everton +1 and Chelsea -2. Lincoln 3 points behind has a -1 goal difference.

In the end, it will come down to all those head to head games between those teams to decide who will go alongside Arsenal in the 2013/14  Champions League edition. By no means Arsenal are guaranteed a Champions League place, but being overtaken by 2 sides with an 8 point lead would be an earthquake.

There are 2 games played today Lincoln v Liverpool with Lincoln hoping to get level with the other Champions League contender for 6 hours, then a 6 pointer at Stoke Gifford between Bristol and Birmingham.

The WSL will then take a break due to the Olympics and will be back on the 15th of August with Doncaster v Everton. Most WSL side have friendlies organised on the 12th of August.

 

France v Romania preview

Tonight, France will play Romania in the first of 3 friendlies in preparation for the London 2012 Olympic games.  As we are now 3 weeks away today from the opening group game against the USA,  the team is in the finishing side of the athletic preparation . They have started working on explosivity and intensity.

The coaching staff said those friendly games are used to make athletics and tactical fine-tuning.  It is also time to make some choices and there are some players competing for a starting 11 place who will get a chance today, they are in bold in the  line up given by the FFF :

Sarah Bouhaddi – Corine Franco, Ophélie Meilleroux, Wendie Renard, Sonia Bompastor – Elise Bussaglia, Camille Abily or Sandrine Soubeyrand, Gaëtane Thiney, Louisa Necib, Elodie Thomis, Eugénie Le Sommer.

The subs are : Deville (GK) , Georges, Viguier, Boulleau, Catala, Delie  + Abily or Soubeyrand.

The 4 reserves players  at the Olympics are Phillipe (GK), Soyer, Gadea and Makanza

The 2 back-ups doing the preparation in case of an injury are Benameur (GK) and Plaza.

Legs will be probably heavy tonight due to training and I wouldn’t be surprised if many changes are made at half time and in the second half.  In term of game plan, we should see the usual attacking passing game mixed with more defensive quality as the team has evolved since the World Cup in term of defensive coordination and block. I am hoping to see Catala, Soyer, Gadea and Makanza get some proper game time so that they  can really get  a feel of what is the international football level. Next week’s game will be  against Russia on the 11th of July in Beauvais  and the final friendly will take place on the 19th of July against world champions Japan in Paris.

Chelsea Ladies v Arsenal Ladies preview

The game on Thursday might be decisive in the title race. Arsenal has a game in hand over the pack of 4 chasing team and more importantly 5 points ahead. Should Arsenal win the game, they will open a 8 points gap at halfway point ( 7 games out of 14). It means, Arsenal could afford to loose 2 games and still be in the lead. Clearly all teams will be rooting for Chelsea on Thursday night.

In the team news :
Chelsea has Lander out after being injured on Sunday, Fay captaining the England U19 in Turkey and Davies fully fit as shown in the euro qualifier but not selected to matchday squad.

Chelsea likely to go 4-3-3 with
Telford, Perry Bonner Ingle Rafferty, Sherwood Buet Coombs, Susi Longhurst Hincks or Bleazard

Arsenal has Faye White missing through pregnancy, Fleeting missing after giving birth a few months ago. Carter with England U19, Ladd on loan in Finland. The main question is will Nobbs carry on in the Fabregas role up front ot make way for Ellen White or Kelly Smith who needs game time for the olympics. I think, Jordan might be unlucky and dropped due to seniority but might get back in midfield in the usual4-3-3 as well
Byrne, Scott Grant Flaherty Fahey, Chapman Nobbs Little, Davison White or Smith Yankey.

This season Arsenal beat Chelsea twice easily but Chelsea manage to beat the Gunners for the 1st in the history in the FA Cup semi-final thanks to Sarah”Julie” Quantrill heroics in goal. It could be interesting if Chelsea takes the lead on Thursday.